Mobile First – What Recruiting can learn from the Facebook IPO

So like you I’m getting bored with hearing about all the fuss round Facebook’s IPO and extremely bored of some of the very ill-informed chatter claiming that a bodged IPO means the end of social networking as we know it and proof that is was a fad all along. This is not what this blog post is about What this blog post is about is a theme that is starting to emerge from all the controversy, the huge issues with Facebook’s mobile platforms

Take a look at this graph from ComScore which details the percentage growth of mobile for the key social networking platforms in the biggest five European markets

As you can see mobile accounts for nearly half of Facebook’s European traffic and is by far its fastest growing platform. One of the key themes that has come out of the IPO controversy is Facebook’s difficulty in monetizing mobile. With it representing such a large part of its exist user base and future growth this is obviously a very big problem.

However, as any mobile Facebook users know, the problem goes much deeper than this. Facebook’s mobile apps are terrible. They are unreliable, slow and lacking in much of the functionality that the desk top users love. Contrary to popular belief though this isn’t necessary down to incompetence on Facebook’s part and it is also unfortunately not something that can be quickly fixed by rolling out new versions.

Although it is only 8 years old, Facebook was built and developed in the pre-smart phone era. The key issues that make mobile so difficult for them are the complexity of the site combined with an acute skill shortage at the cutting edge of mobile technology.

Sites like FourSquare and Instagram were created much later and built from a "mobile first" perspective. Being smaller start-ups it has also been perhaps easier for them to attract the best mobile talent as there is much more of a sense of input and ownership for employees than there is at bigger companies like Facebook

Without the benefit of a time machine Facebook can’t ever be a mobile first platform and all this certainly adds a lot of context to their recent Instagram acquisition.

So what is the lesson here for corporate recruiting? Well it is a fairly simple one – make your digital talent acquisition strategy “Mobile First”

Accessing the Internet via mobile devices will overtake desktop use at some point in the next two years. This is well within the lifespan of any corporate recruitment sites currently be developed.  Why would you then build a site that will alienate the majority of its users?  Thinking mobile first isn’t easy but I would argue that it is now essential.

Recruitment tends to lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to adopting new technologies so this actually gives us the benefit of the time machine that Facebook doesn’t have. Now is a great opportunity to use this to our advantage by looking, learning and adapting accordingly